On Friday the Alabama Supreme Court struck down a state law that banned open carry on someone else’s property.
The Alabama Supreme Court on Friday ruled a state law that banned the open carry of a gun on someone else’s property is unconstitutional.
Friday’s ruling by the court came in an appeal by Jason Dean Tulley, 38, of his Jacksonville city court conviction for openly carrying a pistol on his hip while inside the First Educators Credit Union on March 31, 2011.
An off-duty police officer working security at the credit union told Tulley to leave the credit union and put the gun in his car. Tulley, who at the time also had a conceal carry permit, argued his rights but eventually complied. Tulley was charged days later.
The high state court’s ruling overturns Tulley’s conviction on the charge.
“This is definitely a victory for gun rights advocates,” said J.D. Lloyd, one of Tulley’s appellate lawyers. “More importantly, it’s a victory for folks who believe in Due Process and don’t want to see the Legislature passing vague criminal statutes.”
The law had been in place since 1940 without any sort of penalty provision; the law stated that open carry on someone else’s property was illegal, but there was no stipulation in the law as to what the penalty would be. The court determined that there can’t be a “crime” if there’s not a punishment in the law, and struck it down as being unconstitutionally vague.
Despite this apparent oddity, this was the first time that the relevant statute, 13A-11-52, has be challenged in the Supreme Court since the punishment provisions were dropped in 1940.
Alabama is generally accepted to be an “open carry” state, but there are some interesting quirks and kinks in the state’s laws that residents need to be aware of before considering open carry.